Cook, a vice president for strategic planning at Catholic Health Initiatives, moved from Washington, D.C., about six years ago to work in the company's Louisville office.
Last spring, the company consolidated its Louisville and Cincinnati offices in Erlanger, Ky.Already settled in the house he'd built with wife Diane and daughter Katherine, who was set to start kindergarten, Cook
nixed a possible move to northern Kentucky -- and didn't relish the thought of a four-hour round-trip commute.Instead, he
set about designing an office at home that would allow him to stay connected at all times with colleagues and business associates around the country -- as well as with his
administrative assistant at corporate headquarters in Denver.Bob Cook
stays connected by telecommuting from his
"The three umbilical cords are the Internet, phone and fax," Cook explains, noting that the technology allows him to work long hours without a commute, with perks such as regular opportunities to take Katherine to school or join her
there for lunch.
But what does it take to convert an extra room, a corner of a family room or a nook in a kitchen into a home office that truly works?Cook turned to Louisville interior designer Joan Waddell, who had worked with the family on the design of the rest of the house, to assist with the transformation.
office to be tucked away from the traffic and commotion of daily life at home, with a sizable work area and a visual connection to the outside.
The original lemon-yellow walls were repainted a warm beige -- a "quiet" color that Cook
found more business-like.Berber carpet in a neutral beige with blue and brown flecks complements the walls and woodwork.
wife set a $5,000 to $10,000 budget for what Waddell describes as "upper-end" commercial furniture of the type you'd find in the office of any corporate executive.An ergonomically designed chair that swivels 360 degrees gives Cook easy access to a double-pedestal serpentine desk with lateral file drawers and to the matching four-door hutch and credenza behind it.There is an ample supply of shelves and other compartments for storage.Cook
likes to spread out projects on a separate surface, so he
added a round conference table to the mix.
A critical component of home-office design is the compatibility of electronic equipment with the space and furnishings selected.The phone system, computer, printer, fax and other hardware must be positioned and connected appropriately to keep the home office seamlessly connected with both the outside and inside worlds.Waddell points out that while an employer generally ensures that technology is up to speed at a company office, this potential headache falls to you if you telecommute.Unless you're particularly electronics-savvy, she
recommends bringing in an expert for pre-purchase advice, and later, to run the wires and get everything hooked up.
is fond of black-and-white photography, and has several framed prints on the wall.He
also finds it useful to write out plans and ideas with dry-erase markers on a whiteboard.The one mounted on his
office wall sometimes doubles as a drawing board for daughter Katherine -- a constant reminder of one of the greatest rewards of working at home.Louisville Magazine
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